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Love Family Survives Mountain Ordeal in 1853

John S. Love, his two brothers and their widowed mother started out with other friends from Pennsylvania to Oregon in April 1853.

At Fort Boise, they and 1,000 others joined a wagon train led by Elijah Elliott on a short cut to the Willamette Valley. They lost their way after discovering a promised road had not been built across the Cascade Mountains.  Wagons and cattle were lost and people nearly starved in the rain and snow.

The family settled in the Willamette Valley, but Love left for the gold mining town of Jacksonville in 1854.  He and John Bilger started a business making implements needed by the miners and settlers.

In 1858 his mother came to live with him. Love hired Mary Anne Harris to care for her, and two years later married her daughter Ann Sophia.

During the Civil War, Love, a staunch Unionist, was elected county commissioner.

In 1867, Love died of tuberculosis, leaving Ann Sophia a widow with three young children and another on the way.

More about John and Ann Sophia Love and other pioneers of Jacksonville is available in material kept at the Southern Oregon Historical Society research library in Medford, Ore. 

Source: Bunch, Judie. The John S. Love Family in Jacksonville, Oregon 1854-1869. Talent, Oregon: Pearl Tea Publishing, 2016. 1-31. Print.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.